Troy is so taken aback with what Asia just told him that he asks her to tell him the Mark of the Beast story again, and she does. Here it
is three o’clock in the morning and they are both now wide awake having eye opening, heart pounding, God sending revelations of what’s been happening. After staring his wife down, and asking her several questions, Troy says, “Asia, you and the boys are staying home today. You’re not going to work, nor the boys to school.” He says it as a matter of fact statement, and Asia doesn’t contest him at all because she’s glad not to have to struggle through that arduous commute again. At least not right now. So, she says, “Okay, hon, thank you.” “Thank you for being so sensible about things!” Troy continues, “I’ll go in to work today and see what’s going on. I’m now curious about, and want to see what my boss, Jake did with that Big Foot creature thing. I knew I was right when I didn’t help them with it yesterday”. “I know, Troy, I’m scared for you about that. I don’t like it and I have a funny feeling about it!” “I know too, Babe, I’m going to pray about this and ask the Lord for the safety and wisdom on how to proceed with anything else connecting this job with the Mark of the Beast. I know we need our jobs to live and survive, but I have the faith that the Lord is going to see us through”. And with that, He gets down on his knees, folds his hands in front of him and begins praying. Asia sits on the edge of the bed, bends her head down, and also folds her hands in a steeple as she listens to and
prays with her husband. She remains sitting on the edge of the bed because she can no longer kneel on her bad knees.
After praying, Asia cuts on the t. v. to reluctantly see what’s going on, and Troy goes to the bathroom. As soon as the screen lights up and the sound comes on, they can both hear there are more problems and incidents occurring all over. Asia now keeps the large flat screen
t. v. in their bedroom on the CNN channel, so they can hear constant news. And the news is not good. Thousands of people around the country are being arrested, some for other crimes, but mostly because of not obeying the curfew. Officials are trying to distinguish between those who have legitimate excuses and reasons to be out past curfew verses those who are just disobeying the law. Troy comes back into the room just as the reporter is giving statistics on the amount of arrests, crimes, and casualties connected to the curfew. With a straight look on his face he says, “Babe, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about”. Asia stops looking at the t. v. and turns to look directly at her husband because she can hear something serious in his tone of voice. And as she guessed it, she was right, from what she heard next. “What is it, hon?”, Asia asks her husband with a quizzical look. “Well”, Troy begins, “I’ve been thinking about what you’ve been doing, what with stocking up on needed supplies, and how you’ve watched the dooms day preparers and all and I want us to do a little more preparing ourselves”. Asia is at first stunned for she has had a hard time getting her husband to get on board with things connected to not relying on the Lord to protect them during these end days and times. They have numerous discussions about having faith that the Lord will guide and take care of them. And Asia knows she’s a true believer of this, but she also believes that the Lord takes care of those who help themselves, and it seems like her husband is finally coming around to that conclusion as well. She becomes elated and smiles from ear- to- ear, which exposes her deep dimples that brightens up her face. This prompts Troy to bend down and deeply kiss her on her lips, and he then says, “you are a beautiful woman, and I want to do whatever it takes to protect our
family. And of course, in God’s will”. Lost in this wonderfully loving moment with her husband, for a few minutes, she has no worries nor cares in the world. They both revel in the peaceful intimate moment only for a few more minutes because Troy says, “Babe, I’m going to build an underground room for us”. “You mean like one of those types of bunker things they have in dooms day preppers?” “Yeah, something like that, but I’m not yet really so sure what. I’ve just been thinking, that’s all”. Asia’s face, smile and eyes, light up again as she says, “Yeah, hon, I think it’s a good thing!” With every word, her husband is making her feel happier and less worried.
The boys wake up as Troy is leaving for work. They’re glad not to be going to school. He hugs and kisses his wife goodbye first, then does the same to his boys. All three of them, Asia, Junior and Beary stand at the front door and wave goodbye to dad. He waves back as he pulls out of their driveway and prepares himself the best way he can, with a positive attitude, for whatever is to come. As Asia closes the door, she says another silent prayer for the safety of her husband.
She then turns to her children, tells them to sit at the kitchen table as she begins to cook breakfast, and tells them to listen carefully. Even though Junior is ten and Beary only four years old, she’s glad they are mature kids. Because of this, she is able to speak to them in an adult manner, but on a level that they could understand. With a spatula in her hand, she begins, “guys please listen carefully to me. Your dad and I am not sure what is going to happen now that this new curfew law has taken effect in this country. You two know that we both love you very much and will do everything in our power to keep you safe.” “We know mom”, Junior says. Answering for both he and his little brother. Beary just sits there quietly staring at his mom with those big round eyes in his round cherry face. Asia is filled with so much love and compassion for her children, it makes her worry even more. Beary must have seen the worry on her face because he then says, “don’t worry mommy, everything’s gonna be alright”. And tears well up in her eyes as she serves her boys pancakes for breakfast, and hopes Beary is right. She sits down next to him, gives him a tight squeeze and eats with them. After breakfast, Asia tells the boys all about how their father is going to build a kind of safe room under the basement for them if they need it. And in the meanwhile, they have to all pitch in, help out, and continue stocking up on things they need. Remembering about saving their non-perishables, Junior says, “I know mom, that’s why I told dad yesterday to save the oatmeal and make us waffles instead”. “That was so smart of you. I’m going to need you and your brother to continue being real smart like that and also not get into any trouble, nowhere! Not here at home, nor especially at school! Do you two hear me?” She asks with her hands on her hips. “Yes mom!” They both respond in unison. “Okay then let’s get the list of things we need and should do to continue preparing for any emergency situation.” And with that, Asia and her boys get to work packing boxes of items and stuff that are
necessary for one’s survival as she thinks about her husband.
Troy goes through similar events as he did yesterday after leaving the house and going to work except for the kid’s school bus and school stuff. There are several accidents that lead to a much longer than usual ride. He’s thinking that he’d better get used to this because he believes this is now going to be the norm. He can sense there’s trouble on his job even before arriving to the site. It’s almost like a kind of spider man alarm going off in his head. He knows it is God warning him in advance to get ready, so he does by being on his p’s and q’s and being acutely aware of his surroundings. His co-workers and his boss, Jake are in a deep discussion about something when he walks up to them. It can clearly be seen that Jake is mad. His already red face is even redder. His eyebrows are knotted together in a scowl, and he is cursing up a storm saying, “I don’t know who confiscated my creature, but whoever it is had better bring it back!” He says this with such anger that spit flies from his mouth and lands on one of his employees, Mason’s, face. How disgusting, Troy thinks as Mason wipes the spit off his face. He notices that his friend Phillip isn’t there and remarks on it by saying,
“Hey guys what’s up? Where’s Phillip?” At first they all ignore him because they are so concentrated on Jake they don’t even realize he’s there. Finally, Jake stops cursing and going off and they see him. “Hey Troy”, Gil greets him by gesturing his hand in a hi motion. Jake and Mason only nod their heads. Jake is still upset that Troy went home yesterday and didn’t help with his creature and now it’s gone.
Mason is upset that all their hard work was for naught. Because it was hard work moving the creature to where Jake wanted it, especially without Troy’s help. Troy is a very strong man. He trained in martial arts his whole life, lifting weights, and doing exercises that many men cannot do. And everyone knows he puts his all in everything he does. So, they could have used Troy’s strength in getting the large creature into a shed in the back woods on Jake’s land. And now supposedly according to Jake, the creature is gone. They were waiting for Troy and Phillip before going back to the site. And that’s when Jake notices that Phillip isn’t with Troy and asks him, “where’s Phillip? I thought he was coming to work with you?” Troy shrugs his shoulders and says, “I don’t know where he is. I haven’t heard from him so I thought he was alright”. Jake mumbles under his breath saying some more curses while walking to his truck and says, “well ya’ll come on n git in ya’lls cars and follow me sos I can show ya’ll what I’m talking about!” Mason goes to Gil’s car and Troy gets into his own and the three men follow their boss into the deep back woods where the shack is located.
The shack’s doors are torn off their hinges exposing the inside of it. So as soon as you drive up, it can be seen it’s empty. No creature is inside, nothing is, there is just the bare dirt ground. There is dried up blood to show where the creature once was, but now the creature is gone. Mason shouts, “where the hell could it have disappeared to?” And Jake shouts back, “that’s what in darnation I’m gonna find out, and I need ya’lls help”. Looking dumbfounded Gil says, “what can we do, boss?” And Jake shouts out again, “we’re gonna first search here in the woods for it and I swear if I don’t find it and find out that one of those nosy bastards from yesterday is involved in its disappearance, I swear to God they are gonna be sorry!” Troy winces when he hears his boss swear to the Lord. He can’t stand it when someone puts the lord’s name in vain. He just stands there quietly taking it all in. Troy and his boss, Jake knows that he is not going to get involved with any legalities. He will help them look for the creature, but when and if it comes to fighting, then his boss is on his own. For Troy does not fight. All his training is only used for good and this is not a good situation, so they can count him out. This is what’s on his mind as he, Mason, and Gil get into one of the company’s trucks, Jake gets into his own, and they begin driving around in the back woods looking for the creature they came across in the road yesterday.
It sure is a gloomy day thinks Troy for it begins raining, making the dirt road wet and muddy as they drive around looking for Big Foot, him using the nick name he gave the creature. And he says it out loud. Gil responds with, “you know, I used the same name last night when I explained what happened to my wife”. “I’m not surprised”, says Troy, “because it looked like Big Foot”. This makes him think of the conversation he and Asia had but does not disclose it to his co-workers, he keeps this to himself. Mason just continues driving, following behind Jake’s truck, and cursing under his breath. He finally vehemently says, “we ain’t gonna find no creature because somebody took it so Jake just might as well give up the search!” And Troy thinks they should too. It’s just not dreary in these back woods, but it’s also scary. There’s not another soul around for miles and if anything is to happen, they’re on their own. And just to let him know he’s not totally on his own, Troy’s cell phone rings and it’s his wife. He answers it right away saying, “Hi Babe, I miss you”. “I miss you too! Are you alright?” She asks. “Yeah, I guess so”, he responds back and says, “I’ll call you back later, okay?” Then flips his phone closed.
Gil is the first one to start itching. At least he thinks he is the first, when in retrospect, Phillip was really the first one who started scratching. But they didn’t know it because Phillip never called and spoke to anyone to let them know what was going on. After Phillip,
Gil, Mason and Jake fumbled with and finally got the creature into a truck and brought it to the shack in Jake’s back woods, Phillip got sick. At first he didn’t think anything of it, thinking it was just his allergies. Because he started sneezing first, then itching and scratching. Phillip didn’t notice the rash until he got home later on that evening. In fact, his wife was the one who noticed it when he got home, pulled out his vodka and began heavily drinking. She said, “Phil, what’s that on your arm?” And at first he ignored her until he began scratching his face and sneezing uncontrollably. He got up, went to the mirror, looked at his reflection and was aghast at what he saw. His face had all these grotesquely, discolorations all over it. He was horrified! He turned to say something to his wife and fell out on their floor. She screamed, ran to get her phone and called emergency. It took the ambulance some time to get to their house for the officials have been over whelmed with emergencies since the curfew began. When they got there, Phillip was in cardiac arrest, and they had to give him CPR to resuscitate him. Troy didn’t find this out until he called Phillip’s cell phone during lunch and Phillip’s wife answered and told Troy what was happening. Troy is shocked and doesn’t know what to say to his wife except that he will pray for Phillip.
By this time, not only is Gil itching and scratching, but Mason and Jake are too. Now Troy is really concerned and he relays what Phillip’s wife told him, to his boss, and two co-workers here in front of him. He thinks they might have contracted something from the creature and he tells them this saying, “hey, you guys, I think you all should get checked out”. “How are you feeling?” Jake asks Troy. And Troy says, “praise God! Fine”. He is now extremely glad more than ever that he listened to God’s instincts, refused the job yesterday and went home. By just looking at that creature, he knew nothing good could come of Jake wanting to keep and put it up. Now he’s sure of it. He’s also been on his p’s and q’s since arriving at work and he goes back and reflects on the day’s events. He tries to think of how much contact he had with these contaminated men. And once again he thanks the Lord saying a silent prayer because he doesn’t remember even touching any one of them. This is where he must say his goodbyes for they are now back to where his car is parked and he must now leave. He wishes them good luck and once again tells them to get themselves checked out. He gets in his car and drives away looking back at them in his rear- view mirror.